I woke with a start. I vaguely remembered the dream I was having but didn’t want to recall more than the snippets I was getting. Sleep clouded my mind while heading for the bathroom. Jeff was still on duty and patrolling the inner enclosure. It still being his shift meant that I hadn’t yet slept four hours and it was still at least two more before my next shift would start. The sky would start getting light soon and I’d never get back to sleep then. I got to the bathroom and back, drifting back off to sleep in less then three minutes, definitely a record for me.
Coming out of the dream this time was more like swimming slowly to the surface in a pool of water. I dimly recognized the faint beeping coming from under my pillow as my cell phone alarm. Twenty minutes from now I was due for my shift at watch. I remembered going to the bathroom about two hours earlier and I thought about why it had been so much easier to wake and get up then.
Before, I’d been having a nightmare. That much I was sure of but beyond that, I didn’t know what about. Because of the nightmare it was easy to leave sleep for the false solace of our currently horrid world. I couldn’t remember what I’d been dreaming about the second time but I knew that it was something good, something I’d wanted to hold onto. Just like any other dream I’d had recently, I couldn’t remember a thing about it after I woke fully. I promised myself that I’d start remember my good dreams. In the world we were looking forward to having something good to think about during the days was definitely something to look forward to.
The new day brought on a whole new set of issues. The first was trying to get a hold of anyone I could think of and let them know there was a haven here in Tulare. We would let anyone we could get a hold of know that we were accepting any and all who could make it to our location. One set had already arrived, coming in right before I woke for my shift. Awake now I was able to fully register who it was and I was completely ecstatic when I saw them.
Sitting in the outer eating area in the enclosure were Ajay, her boyfriend Brian and their kids. I yelled as I ran to give her a hug “Ajay! I can’t believe you guys came all the way here last night.” She laughed as she stepped away and looked at Brian. “Well, we decided that it might be a little safer to travel at night, plus our block was getting pretty overrun. We made the final decision when the neighbor walked through the sliding glass door around three this morning.” I looked at my watch it was a little after six. “Wait, they said you came in right before I woke up, what time did you get here?” She sat down looking extremely tired and pretty emotional. “We came in around five thirty. We went slow and took all the back roads we could. We ran into a couple of trouble spots on the way. Brian almost got hurt when we were getting into the truck. The kids were scared. I almost didn’t make it here sane.”
She looked like she wasn’t gonna be able to stay awake much longer. Brian and the kids looked about as worse for wear as she did. I told them go in and find a place for them to lie down. I told them that they could rest for most of the morning but that we’d be needing their help later in the after noon. They retreated to the sleeping area and were already laying down by the time I retrieved my weapons and went heading out to switch for the watch.
A ladder to the roof of the gym had been set up on one of the previous watch shifts. I ascended the ladder and walked to the corner of the roof that they’d been using for the last several hours. There was a small table with a chair there. Jason was sitting in the chair looking out over Kern Ave. “How goes it watchman?” He looked at me then turned his attention back towards Kern. “I can’t believe this is actually happening. I sat here and watched at least three groups of zombies walk past on “O” Street. I haven’t seen a living person outside our group since we’ve been here. Do you think there’s anyone else alive still alive in town?”
I sat on the roof with my back to the wall that faced Kern. “There’s got to be survivors other then us. There just has to be. If there isn’t then we’re all in a lot of trouble. We’re gonna need a lot more people to make it work here. If there were a smaller place for us to go to that would be easier for a small group like us to tend to I’d say we go for it. As it is though, we actually need more people to make this place run the way we want to.” I knew that as large as the campus was, we’d definitely need more people to keep the place up and running the way we’d need it to so we could survive.